Here’s a new article about Reconnecting with Nature. This is a quick beginner’s guide to nature observation that I try to practice several times a week close to home. This practice is the dayworld side of my dreamwork.
The guide is a synthesis of different practices developed by psychologist Eugene Gendlin, naturalist Jon Young, and archaeologist Paul Devereux. I brought the practices together when studying the perceptual effects of ancient rock art in Nicaragua. It really works well for me so I want to share it.
Although I call this method nature observation, it is really about coming back to our senses and remembering who we are. Humans belong in nature and it does not take long to redevelop our connections to the natural world.
Yeah, we live in a fractured, mechanized, soul-stabbing world and to cope we have lots of barriers to prevent ourselves from feeling connected. But we also have intuitive abilities that have been tempered by hundreds of thousands of years of participation in the real world.
Waking back up to the senses can be painful at times. Just like when your leg “falls asleep,” the first sensations from the blood circulating again are often pinpricks of pain. I have found that working through this pain, which ecopsychologist Chellis Glendinning calls eco-trauma, is an important first step to reconnecting with our forgotten intuitive abilities. But facing what need to be faced is not so scary in the end; what happens when we don’t face it is the real nightmare!
Now that I”ve turned everyone off from ever going outside again, I”m going to close with an old song that sums up this whole process:
Stop children, what’s that sound? Everyone look what’s going down.
How refreshing it is to know that not only do other people do this but that they know how to put it into words and share it. I thought I was the only one.
Something I also do is I gaze at the tiny squiggly things that most people think are on the surface of their eyes. These are actually particles of the Universal Energy Field. After I gaze at them meditatively for 20 minutes or so I find that they pulsate to a certain rhythm. I keep meditating and gazing at them and I notice that the birds, the crickets, the frogs and indeed all the woodland creatures operate in this same rhythm. I immerse myself in this meditation and if I am lucky I can get up and walk through the forest with my steps also in this rhythm.
Thanks for sharing! I really recommend the teachings of naturalist Jon Young in this regard, who is interested not only in ecology but also teaches how to pay attention to dreams and waking “visions” like you mention here.
And Isn’t it interesting that this ephemeral imagery you describe is revered in so many cultures as the gateway to the divine (especially the Indigenous cultures who participate in the natural world on a daily level) but in our culture it is labeled a “surface phenomenon” that is nothing more that an artifact of our visual system. Of course, these two don’t have to be mutually exclusive if we embrace a more radical materialism.